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My Grace Tankini Swimsuits

Grace Tankini by Savvy Patterns

I realized I never showed some of the Grace Tankinis that I made while the pattern was in testing and production.  All of the muslins (practice and test) suits that I made were from a pastel purple check fabric.  A friend had given me about 9 yards of it, and it worked perfectly for checking the fit and assembly steps.  But then I wanted some suits I could wear!

Grace Tankini by Savvy Patterns

This 1st example of the Grace Tankini is view B top and ruched sport skirt.  The solid navy fabric is from JoAnn Fabrics and was labeled swimwear/athleticwear.  It wasn’t as nice and thick to work with as later fabrics suits.  The skirt is the view B skirt, and the inset ruched panel fabric is from The Fabric Fairy.  I left off the pockets in this skirt.

Grace Tankini by Savvy Patterns

The next example is the view A top and circle skirt bottom.  This swimwear fabric came from Imagine Gnats and is of medium thickness and easy to work with.  The skirt is a full circle, and so fun to wear and has nice coverage.

Grace Tankini by Savvy Patterns

Third, I sewed a view B top and high waisted, ruched skirt bottom.  These fabrics came from CaliFabrics, and were the thickest and nicest to work with.  You could make an unlined tankini with this thick fabric.  You might notice the high waisted version on this sport skirt has a wider waistband, which was an early version of the high waisted bottoms.

Grace Tankini by Savvy Patterns

And finally, I sewed a view A top and plain sport skirt with pockets.  The star fabric for the top is from CaliFabrics, and the striped fabric for the skirt is from Hancock Fabrics closeout sale.  They were both nice, thick, good quality fabrics to work with.

Grace Tankini by Savvy Patterns

You might think 4 swimsuits is too many, but considering Aria and I share most clothes, I suspect she’ll be wearing these also.  All these photos were taken at my sister-in-law’s pool…isn’t is beautiful?

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

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View B Ruched Tankini Sew Along

Ruched tankini sew along

Today we’re going to sew the ruched tankini front panel on View B of the Grace Tankini.  This is the part that gets the most questions, so we thought a photo tutorial would be helpful.  It’s worth it to make the ruched panel on View B…it’s many people’s favorite part about this view!

Ruched tankini sew along

Step 1:

Cut out the front panel.  As suggested in the Grace Tankini pattern, do not cut it out on the fold, but open up your fabric, cut 1/2 of the piece, flip the pattern piece over and cut the other half.

Ruched tankini sew along

Step 2:

After sewing the gathering stitches on the sides of the ruched front panel, gather it.  It is helpful to lay out your side piece to see how far to gather the front panel.  Start the gathers at the dot, below the notch where the top of the side panel goes.

As stated in the pattern, you can concentrate the ruching wherever you want to!  More ruching=minimization of that area.  Try to keep the gathers even from side to side so they don’t slant diagonally across your body.  End the gathers 1/5” above the bottom of the front panel so it doesn’t sag down across the bottom.  (Apologies for the blurriness of this photo.  It’s the only one I ended up with!)

You can see how I’ve pinned down my side piece to keep it from moving as I gathered the front panel.  When you are finished gathering, the bottom of the front and side will line up.  The top of the side piece will be at the notch of the front panel.

Ruched tankini sew along

Step 3:

Once the front panel is the same length as the side panel (from the notch to the hem,) pin them right sides together.  Gently curve the shape of the front panel and the side piece to match up.

Ruched tankini sew along

Step 4:

Sew the front panel and side piece together.  We’ve found it more helpful to have the ruched front panel down against the feed dogs to help pull the gathers along evenly.

There you have it!  Continue with the instructions to make the rest of the Grace Tankini.

Ruched tankini sew along

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

Fabric used in this tutorial is from CaliFabrics.

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Sewing the Circle Cut Out in the Grace Tankini

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

We’ve got a tutorial for you about sewing a circle cut out in the back of the Grace Tankini for View A.  This part is not hard at all and adds such fun to the back!

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

You could actually use the back pattern piece to add a circle cut out to the back of View B also.  Or use a CD and place it in the center back (between the shoulder blades) of your favorite swimsuit pattern, and use this tutorial to add a circle cut out to the back of your swimsuit!  Once you have cut out the pattern pieces of both your main fabric and your lining or shelf bra, follow this photo tutorial.

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

Step 1:

Line up the two circles and pin.  The right side of your main fabric will be facing up, and the wrong side of your shelf bra or lining will be facing up.  In other words, right sides together!

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

Step 2:

Carefully sew around the edges of the circle, using a 1/2” seam allowance.  Stop and adjust the fabric as needed.  It’s easiest if you put your needle down in the fabric and adjust the layers.  Alternately, you can baste, check it, and then sew.  If your fabric is thin and doesn’t have good stability, you might try marking the circle onto the back of the fabric and sewing this step before cutting out the fabric from in the middle.  This will ensure your circle doesn’t end up stretched out of shape.

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

Step 3:

Snip around the circle, up to but NOT through your line of stitches you just sewed.  This will allow the circle to lay flat.  I’ve found using just the tip of a sharp scissors to be the key here.

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

Here’s a close up so you can tell how close to go to the stitched circle.

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

Step 4:

Pull your lining or shelf bra through the hole so it is now on the wrong side of the swimsuit back where it belongs.  Carefully press around the circle to get it to lay flat.

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

Step 5:

Sew around the circle again with a 1/4” – 3/8” seam allowance.  As you sew, you want to gently roll the lining/shelf bra to the underside so it doesn’t show on the right side when you are finished.

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

And there you have it!  In the above photo you can see the inside and outside of the circle cut out.  Your circle cut out in the back of a swimsuit is completely finished!  Bring on the sun…

How to sew the circle cut out in the back of your Grace Tankini pattern.

 

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

Fabric used in this tutorial is from CaliFabrics.

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Modifying the Grace Tankini for Removable Bra Cups

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Today we’ve got a special tutorial for you on how to modify the Grace Tankini pattern to allow for removable bra cups.  This is useful for breast cancer survivors who may have mastectomy prosthesis to insert into different bras or swimwear, or to allow for any other inserts.

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

Let’s get started:

Removable Bra Cups Tutorial

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Cut out 2 shelf bra fronts from lining fabric.  They are pictured above at the top right.

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Cut the straps off of one of them.  You will do this below the center of the armhole, and across to the neckline, leaving a portion of the neckline intact so you can catch it in the elastic later.

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Serge/finish top slanted edges you just cut so they hold up better when inserting and removing bra cups.

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

 

Sew together the two shelf bra front pieces with a straight stitch down the center, from the neckline center to the bottom center.  See the dotted line in the photo above.  This is to help keep the bra cups in place so they don’t migrate around during wear.

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Treat the 2 front layers as 1 as you are sewing the suit following the instructions.

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

When you assemble the shelf bra into the Grace Tankini, you want the side with the cut off shoulder straps touching your body.  There will be an opening where you cut off the shoulder straps to insert bra cups or mastectomy prosthesis.

Removable bra cups tutorial from Skirt Fixation

From the outside, the suit looks exactly the same!  Above you might notice the other modification made to the Grace Tankini by making it into a cropped two-piece suit!

Two Piece Grace TankiniNow she can transfer her removable bra cups from suit to suit!

This tutorial can be used with any swimsuit pattern that has a shelf bra.  Of course we recommend the Grace Tankini!

Special thanks to tester Tee Bee for photographing this tutorial.

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Grace Tankini Tester Hacks!

Grace Tankini hack with ruffle on bottom

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini during the sale at Savvy Patterns.

Some of the fabulous testers of the Grace Tankini went on to sew additional suits and make some really genius hacks to the pattern.  Today I’m sharing some of them with you for inspiration.

Grace Tankini with skirted top hack

Rebecca changed the top of her Grace Tankini to have a skirted top!  It looks so comfortable.  To make this change, you could cut the pattern off below the bust and add a gathered rectangle of fabric to the bottom of it.


Grace Tankini hack with ruffle on bottom

Melissa omitted the side splits on the sport skirt and added a ruffle.  And just like that, everyone else needed a ruffle on their skirt too!

Grace Tankini Bikini

Tee Bee made so many versions of the Grace Tankini!  She was definitely the tireless tester!  But now she has an amazing selection of mix and match swimwear!  Her hack was making the Grace Tankini into a bikini by using the shelf bra only and some high waisted panties.  She also helped test a tutorial for removable bra cups which is coming next week.


Reversible Grace Tankini
Synthia made the top of her Grace Tankini reversible by making the shelf bra removable and using fold over elastic on the arm and neck holes.  It’s so pretty, and she’s got two looks in one suit!

Grace Tankini with removable skirtRemember Tiffany’s beautiful Grace Tankini from the original testers post?  Well, the secret is that the circle skirt is removable!  This makes it into a kind of cover up, and gives her a sort of 2 in 1 suit!  Several of the testers did this also.

Mesh back of Grace Tankini

Katrina used power mesh only for the back of her view A top, and ended up with a sassy, see-through suit!  You can also see a little strip of mesh on the side of her panty.  She got all sorts of creative!  Plus she’s my grammar and spelling police, so I kind of love her!

Other amazing things testers did with the Grace Tankini pattern:

Shortened the sport skirt by 3 inches to just cover the panty.

Added flat seam piping to the side seams.

Used the panty pattern pieces to make themselves underwear, or knickers if you’re in the UK.

Added side accent strips to the sides of the View A top.

It’s pretty amazing all the things you can do with the Grace Tankini pattern!  What are you waiting for?

Grab your pattern today during the release week sale at Savvy Patterns.

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Grace Tankini Testers

view B ruched top and plain sport skirt

Every PDF pattern needs to be tested before it can be released for sale.  The ladies who agreed to test the Grace Tankini were the best of the best!  The reason the pattern is not good, but great is thanks to these ladies!  Just check out some of the tester’s Grace Tankinis:

View B top, sport skirt with pockets

Emily from Replicate then Deviate sewed up view B top with a sport skirt.  With pockets!  The color combination is my favorite!

Lynette of Sew Dreamy Designs on Instagram, sewed a view B top and a ruched skirt with pockets.  Isn’t her suit darling?

View A top

This was Rebecca’s first time sewing a swimsuit and she did amazing!  Here you can see her view A top.

view B ruched top and plain sport skirt

My good friend Michelle of F&B Creations is a master at sewing gymnastic wear for her younger daughter.  But this stunning Grace Tankini with the view B top and plain sport skirt takes the cake for master swimwear sewing too!

High waisted and regular

Linda sewed a view A top and both high waisted (on the left) and regular panties to go with it!  It’s so helpful to see the difference.

View B top

Kellie sewed a view B top and a ruched sport skirt and looks like she has a fabulous one piece!  With all the comfort and benefits of a tankini!

View A top, sport skirt

Teronia nearly broke the internet in her jaw-dropping view A top and sport skirt with pockets.  She’s such a sweet tester and promotes my patterns tirelessly!

View A top circle skirt

Crystal sewed a beautiful view A top and a circle skirt.  She had us all in stitches with her twirl videos and the antics of her bird Merlin!

View B top and circle skirt

Maegan sewed a stunning view B top and a circle skirt.  I absolutely adore this version!

Tone made a view A top with a circle skirt.  Her lovely suit is business in the front, party in the back all the way!

Kerrie sewed a view B top and the panty bottoms for her 11 year old daughter, proving the smallest sizes of the Grace Tankini can be made to work for girls!

View A top, sport skirt

Jordan made the most lovely sea blue view A top and plain sport skirt.  It fits her perfectly!

View B top and ruched sport skirt

Everything about Jodi’s Grace Tankini is perfection!  The fabric, the ruching, the photographs by the pool, the fit, and the smile!

View B top and ruched sport skirt

Amy made herself the prefect little black dress, er, make that suit!  This simple but complex version makes me want a black suit too!

plain sport skirt

I just had to share this close up version of Ana’s gorgeous sport skirt with pockets.  It’s the waistband and pockets that had everyone in the tester group drooling!

Ruched skirt and view B top

Feyza sewed herself a jaw dropping navy blue view B top and a ruched sport skirt.  If you need me, I’ll be copying her version!


View A top, plain sport skirt

Diane was one of the first testers to finish her final suit, and encouraged everyone else to finish when she shared her view A top and plain sport skirt.  Also, total pool envy!  Diane wore her suit all day while doing yard work and taking breaks to cool of from the 119 degree weather!


View A top and circle skirt

Elaine sewed up this cheery view A top with a circle skirt.  She had such helpful tips for everyone along the way, and her circle cut out in the back turned out absolutely perfect!

I’m so indebted to these amazing ladies for testing the Grace Tankini!  Next I’ll show you more tester photos…but this time you’ll see totally fantastic variations they made to the pattern!

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini this week while it’s on sale!

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Grace Tankini – now available!

The Grace Tankini is a classy tankini you can feel confident sewing and wearing!

The Grace Tankini pattern is finally available for purchase!   Grab your copy over at Savvy Patterns…on sale for 25% off this week.

The Grace Tankini is a classy tankini you can feel confident sewing and wearing!

The Grace Tankini is a vintage inspired swimsuit with lots of options.  On top, you have 2 choices, both fun and classy!  Choose from a circle skirt, a sporty bottom with or without ruching, or a panty for the bottom. Each of these 4 bottoms can be made either high waisted or to sit on your hips. The Grace Tankini is the ultimate feminine swimsuit. Feel confident and look classy!The Grace Tankini is a classy tankini you can feel confident sewing and wearing!

The View A top’s best feature is in the back.  A circle cutout adds a fun, playful element.  Each view has a supportive shelf bra.

 

This top can be combined with any of the 4 bottoms.  Here you see the circle skirt, which really is a full circle.  This skirt can be made to sit on the hips, or high waisted for extra tummy control.  Hidden underneath is the fully lined panty, which can also be made as a stand alone bottom piece.

If you’ve never sewn swimwear before, don’t worry, the pattern is loaded with tips and links to video and photo tutorials to help you through the process.

 

 

The Grace Tankini is a classy tankini you can feel confident sewing and wearing!

The View B top has a ruched center area which is customizable to flatter your figure.  The fun side panels offer a place for color blocking if you want.  Both tops can be fully lined if you choose.

The Grace Tankini is a classy tankini you can feel confident sewing and wearing!

This top is shown with the ruched sport skirt.  Both the ruched and plain sport skirts can have pockets added to them.  Each also has a panty concealed underneath, and can be made high waisted or to sit on the hips.

The Grace Tankini pattern also offers the option of adding a card pocket, perfectly sized for securing a credit card or room key while you swim.

With so many options, which one will you decide to sew up first?

Be sure to grab the pattern this week while it’s on sale for 25% off at Savvy Patterns.

Grace Tankini Model: Leslie from Threadbear Garments

Grace Tankini Fabric: CaliFabrics

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Swimwear Notions & 2 Ways to Sew Elastic into Swimwear

Adding elastic and boning to swimwear, a photo tutorial by Skirt Fixation

This post is all about the notions you need when sewing swimwear.  Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

First let’s talk about elastic.


You want to be sure to use elastic specifically made for swimwear when sewing the Grace Tankini.  Cotton swimwear elastic is stretchier than other elastic, and holds up better to the ravages of chlorine water.  The Grace Tankini pattern uses 1/4″ swimwear elastic on the neckline, armholes, and leg holes.  You can buy it at your local sewing shop, and online.  You can even buy it by the roll on Amazon if you plan to sew a lot of elastic!

The other place elastic is used in the Grace Tankini is on the shelf bra.  Since this width is a little harder to find, you can either use regular 3/4″ elastic, or buy it by the roll on Amazon.

There are 2 ways to sew elastic into swimwear, and we’ve created a video tutorial to show you both ways.  Try them both, and use your favorite method.

The other notion you might use when sewing swimwear is boning.  Boning is useful for giving a shelf bra extra support on the sides.  When there is wrinkling in the bust area on the sides of a garment, that area could benefit from boning.

Prym Dritz Featherlite Twill Boning White

You can buy boning by the package or by the yard at your local sewing store.  Boning often has a cloth cover over a plastic or nylon insert.  Here is how we suggest adding boning to the Grace Tankini:


Adding boning to swimwear, a photo tutorial by Skirt Fixation

Zig zag your side seam allowances to the back of the shelf bra.  By doing this, you create a channel to insert the boning.  Continue with the pattern until you have inserted the underbust elastic.

Adding boning to swimwear, a photo tutorial by Skirt Fixation

If your boning has a cover, pull it back.  Cut your boning to match the length of the channel you created, minus about 1/2″ at the top of the side seam where you will be installing your armhole elastic.

Adding boning to swimwear, a photo tutorial by Skirt Fixation

Slide the boning into the channel.  That’s it!  Finish constructing your Grace Tankini, and forget worrying about having enough support!

Some people consider the notions to be the trickiest part of sewing swimwear, but we’ve made it easy for you with these swimwear notions tutorials.

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

Some affiliate links are used in this post to supplies we really love and use often.  If you click on one of our affiliate links, we might make a few pennies at no extra cost to you.  Thank you!

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How to Add Bra Cups to a Swimsuit

How to add bra cups to a swimsuit - a video tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Today’s post is all about bra cups.  Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

The Grace Tankini has a shelf bra in both views.  Adding bra cups to the shelf bra gives more stability and support as well as modesty when wet.  First let’s talk about bra cups.

How to add bra cups to a swimsuit - a video tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Bra cups for swimwear come in all different types!  There are several different shapes including inverted u-shape, oval or teardrop.  There are as many different cup sizes as there are for regular bras, but A-DD are the most common.  Swimwear bra cups can be found in a molded poly foam or gel filled, both with a knit covering.  Also, bra cups can be found in white, black, or nude.  Bra cups with enhancing (push up) features can also be purchased.

In choosing what bra cups to use, you should look for a shape and size that matches your bust size and swim fabric.  Be sure the bra cups you purchase include the words “for swimwear” so you can be sure they will not retain water or be damaged by chlorine.

Where to Source Bra Cups for Swimwear

You can purchase bra cups online or in your local sewing store.  As of this post, bra cups cost between $6 and $15.  Some online sources include:

How to add bra cups to a swimsuit - a video tutorial from Skirt Fixation

JoAnn Fabrics Dritz Molded Foam Bra Cups

Amazon

Sew Sassy

Another tried and true method of sourcing bra cups for swimwear is to harvest them from an old or thrift store swimsuit!  They are much cheaper, and in season you can often buy a suit from the thrift store for a dollar or two.  If you source your bra cups from a swimsuit, you can be assured they are intended for swimwear and will hold up to chlorine and not retain water.

How to Add Bra Cups to a Swimsuit

Sewing bra cups in to the Grace Tankini (or any shelf bra swimsuit) is easy and rewarding.  Watch our video below to watch us sew bra cups into the Grace Tankini and listen for all our little tips along the way!

If you’re looking for more support than a shelf bra with sewn in bra cups offers, try this tutorial from Cashmerette.

Also, watch for a tutorial on how to make your bra cups removable, which is useful if you’ve purchased special/expensive inserts (i.e. mastectomy prosthesis) you want to use in several different suits.

Leave us your thoughts about bra cups in the comments below.

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

Affiliate links are used in this post.  If you click one of our affiliate links, we may make a few pennies at no extra cost to you.  We only like to really great produce we love and recommend!

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Sewing With Power Mesh

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Swimwear sewing is doable for the home sewist, and every tip and tutorial helps you achieve a more professional look.  Today we’re talking about power mesh.  Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Power mesh is a lightweight, sheer fabric used to add extra compression or support to swimwear.  The best power mesh fabric to use for swimwear is made from a nylon spandex blend, and has a 4 way stretch.  The amount of stretch varies, so you should look for power mesh with similar stretch properties to your main swim fabric and lining.

Speaking of lining, the most common application of power mesh is to add it to the wrong side of your lining.  Stay tuned for the tutorial below on just how to do that.  But power mesh can also be used in place of the lining altogether.

Why to Use Power Mesh:

Reasons you might want to add power mesh to your swimwear are: extra compression power, extend the life of your suit, and modesty if your main fabric is thin.  Keep in mind that the extra compression power may require you to go up a size when making your swimwear.  This is both because power mesh often has less stretch than regular swim fabric, and also because every layer of fabric you add to your suit can mean less stretch overall.

Power mesh is also often used as the briefs in men/boys swim trunks.   It comes in many different colors and even a few prints.  You should wash and dry your power mesh in the same way you plan to launder your finished suit.  For us that means a cold water wash and a line dry.

Power mesh usually costs between $3 and $15 per yard.  We’ve linked to some sources we recommend for power mesh below:
Power Mesh White Fabric  
from Fabric.com
Performance Fabric Power Mesh Tango Red   
from JoAnn Fabrics

Power Mesh from Amazon

Power Mesh from Peekaboo Pattern Shop

The Fabric Fairy 

Cali Fabrics

Mood Fabrics

Online Fabric Store has 16 different colors of power mesh

Stylish Fabrics

How to Use Power Mesh:

Now here’s a tutorial on how to add power mesh to your swimwear.  In this tutorial, the power mesh is nude colored, the lining is white, and the main swim fabric is red and white striped.

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Step 1:
Just like all swim wear fabric and lining, power mesh is easer to cut flat instead of on the fold. Also, we find it easier to get a more accurate cut when using a rotary cutter rather than a scissors. When you have your power mesh cut out, pin it to the wrong side of your lining fabric. (If your lining doesn’t have a right or wrong side, just choose one!)

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Step 2:
Baste the power mesh to the lining fabric inside the seam allowance (closer to the raw edges) around all sides of the pattern piece.

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Here you can see the power mesh is now basted to the lining fabric.  Sometimes the basting causes the lining to curl up a little around the edges.  This is no biggie, and it will stop once you remove your basting stitches.

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Above you can see the right side of the fabric now has a line of basting stitches close to the edge.

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Step 3:
Pin your lining pattern pieces together as according to the pattern instructions, keeping in mind the power mesh is on the wrong side of the lining fabric.  Remember to use ballpoint pins so you don’t snag your fabric when sewing swimwear.

Step 4:
Sew your lining pieces together with a stretch stitch. You can see how this line of sewing is outside the 1st basted line of thread. After this step, remove your basting stitches if desired.

How to add power mesh to swimwear - a tutorial from Skirt Fixation

Step 5:
Finally, sew the lining to the main fabric as instructed. You can see the power mesh is sandwiched between the main fabric and the lining.

There you have it: how and why to use power mesh in your swimwear sewing.  Leave us your thoughts about power mesh below!

Grab your copy of the Grace Tankini here.

Affiliate links are used in this post.  If you click one of our affiliate links, we may make a few pennies at no extra cost to you.  We only like to really great produce we love and recommend!